Relieve your AI anxiety by having fun
"AI anxiety" has become a phenomenon in the past few months. Some people play with prompts to prove their creativity, some marvel at copies written by AI, and some experts worry about being replaced.
There is no need to be anxious as long as you can have fun in or out of AI.
My social media accounts have been recently flooded with people’s stupid/smart conversations with AI or pictures featuring beautiful girls generated by Midjourney.
Although it’s not technically difficult, and I do experiments and observe trends, I don’t enjoy spending my time playing with prompts since it’s a bit boring for my taste (I am not underrating their value, it’s just a personal choice). I understand it’s like learning a new programming language — you want to do everything with it, and the process is exciting. I get it, really.
To me, using prompts to write or draw doesn’t qualify as “creation” (so it is quite accurate to call it “generative” as in GPT), and no matter how good I think the results are for now, their lifespan is incredibly short.
The most interesting contradiction is the term “AI dueling,” which I created in another article. Some people are already using AI to write stories or even an entire book, and then the readers ask AI to compile a 500-word summary to skip all the hassle and pretend they have read the whole thing.
This is a waste of intelligence and electrical power. The person who “wrote” the book may not have read it either, not to mention the smart, AI-wielding readers. The only ones who read it were your dear AI robots as they “dueled” each other in the process.
The scenario will become even more prevalent in the future since some authors don’t bother to write articles all by themselves, and neither do the readers. However, there are “commercial voids” to fill — you can’t sell a one-page book with only five bullet points; for now, you need the “volume” to put on a reasonable price tag.
These are no fun to me. Drawing, appreciating arts, writing, and reading are all fun things I don’t want the AI to take the privileges. But I’m happy to use it when it’s not “doing my job” but “saving my effort.”
If I’m doing something for my client and will get paid for it, and AI can take two hours out of the three for me to do something fun, I will be more than happy to use it and thank Heaven for such bliss.
For the new book I recently completed, I trained an AI engine to read the contents and have it answer the readers' questions about the book. The robot is still kind of silly, but it’s fun too.
“Saving,” not “doing” your job
My basic principle: don’t become a person who can’t do your job without AI (or any “productivity tool,” for that matter) or who can’t “supervise” and judge the results from AI.
If AI can summarize five key points from a long article for me, that’s great. But if I don’t have the ability to do it myself when necessary, or if I can’t discriminate the quality of the summary, then such tools are not helpful to my long-term growth.
As said earlier, AI is a good tool for “saving your effort,” but don’t let it do the jobs you’re supposed to master.
From the tool viewpoint, the “ability to use AI” and “fluency in prompting” can be considered “soft strengths,” but they could be overextended into “false strengths.” It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between the two, but it’s easy for discerning eyes.
For example, John Doe used AI to write a book about AI; AI generated everything from outlines to content, and that’s perfectly possible. But the problem is that John didn’t actually “write” the book as he read it at best; when John was asked a question about the book, he could probably not answer it. (He could ask AI to answer for him, though.)
One solution to this awkward situation is to use more advanced AI tools to write his next book as technology advances so that it looks better than the previous one. But it’s like covering a lie with more lies — it could go on like that until the happy ending, but it could also implode somewhere.
The same is true in the workplace. You can rely on AI to deliver reports, generate charts, make presentations, and do brainstorming, but it’s hardly possible to rely on AI to lead people, handle crises, make strategic decisions, negotiate with customers, or face challenges in meetings.
You can’t get by just with false strength.
Don’t be anxious, be happy
In workplaces, “a mixed bag of true and false” is everywhere, even before AI, so I won’t judge it as long as you’re happy with the results. But for me, especially at this stage of my career, I don’t feel comfortable allowing tools and AI to do everything for me, and I hope you can have your judgment of real strengths.
Some of my friends who are very successful in their professions have recently been suffering from “AI anxiety,” worrying about “what if I can’t use AI” or “I could be replaced in the future.” There is no need to worry too much, at least for a “working generation.” Their professional abilities still have value as long as they can make good use of the tools to “save the efforts.”
There’s another reason why I am not anxious. With healthy market competition, all kinds of AI applications will sprout one after another as SaaS (Software as a Service), and they will compete with each other with the comprehensiveness and combination of functionality, ease of use of the front-end interface, and the uniqueness of the back-end tool integration.
Simply put, they are bound to become better and easier, and you can just sit back, relax, and wait for it to happen.
If you’d rather tinker with the generative AI engines, learn how the technology is doing, and experience the fun of generating something yourself, have fun.
When it comes to work, don’t think of “the ability to use AI” as the only edge you have. Some already warned that “startups based solely on ChatGPT are dangerous.”
Whether you are good at writing, drawing, management, or anything else, keep refining and stay ahead of the curve. This has nothing to do with AI.
Be clear about how AI tools would “save” or “do” your job.
Don’t worry if you don’t use today’s AI tools. They will get better and easier, so you’re safe to skip them for now. Even if you need customized business AI tools in the future, there will be plenty for you to buy.
If AI can save you some time, take it to do something you find more enjoyable.